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Vietnam Travel Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

Vietnam travel myths

There is no metro in Vietnam, and your trip will be miserably ruined if you travel to Vietnam during the rainy season. They are some of a few stubborn Vietnam travel myths that you should stop believing right now.  

Despite all the advancements in travel planning in the digital age, these Vietnam travel myths refuse to die. Travelers, especially first-time visitors in Vietnam tend to believe in things that may broaden a gap between them and a worry-free trip. Read on to debunk common myths about traveling to Vietnam.

Vietnam Travel Myths That Are Completely Wrong

Do not cloud your mind with misconceptions about Vietnam. This beautiful country has more to offer than sad memories of the past wars and old-fashioned facilities.

# Myth 1: Vietnam is backward 

Vietnam travel myths

It is a common belief that Vietnam is old-time and woodenly attached to rural lifestyle. Most of the locals are farmers, and they wear conical hats every single day. Travelers shouldn’t expect quality services if they are not in big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

Reality: Tragic wars were over years ago, and Vietnam is on the way to advance in many aspects. Urban areas are dotted with modern transportation, skyscrapers and luxury stores. In remote areas, life still revolves much around farming but you can always find yourself comfortable in a chic hotel with full wifi access and automatic payment systems.

# Myth 2: There are a lot of scams

Sadly, as a result of misunderstandings about Vietnam’s development, many tourists are obsessed with tricks and scams when they travel to Vietnam. Pickpockets are everywhere, and taxi drivers are ready to rip you off right after you get out of the airport exit.

Reality: Actually travel scams are unavoidable anywhere else in the world. But Vietnam is generally safe for travelers. Vietnamese people are kind and friendly. More importantly, there is no mass shooting and terrorism in this country. Just be mindful about traps and you can stay away from unpleasant travel experiences.

» Are you worried about taxi scams? Read more on Tips for Your First Trip in Vietnam.

# Myth 3: Vietnamese street food is unhygienic 

One of the most common Vietnam travel myths is street food. Don’t eat the street food if you don’t want to get food poisoning. The street vendors look dirty, and the way they cook food is just disgusting. Walking around the cities and shutting your eyes to these street treats will save your fragile stomach.

Reality: It is nonsense to come up with the idea that eating street food will make you ill. Vietnam is one of the best places in the world to eat street food. Saigon street food is a thing to be on your bucket list. Going to local markets and wandering through the countless stalls of aromas will rock your tastebuds.

# Myth 4: Vietnam rainy season is a nightmare

Is it better to get sunburn than to get soaking wet in the country where sun rays are more than sufficient? There is no reason to travel to Vietnam during the rainy season. If you unluckily do that, your trip will end up with days and nights sleeping at your hotel.

Reality: You don’t have to be that pessimistic about traveling during Vietnam rainy season. Even though that is not your favorite choice, you are still benefiting from the low prices and few tourists. By the way, some experiences are just available on rainy days such as a sampan ride along the ‘river street’ flowing through Hoi An Ancient Town. So, get rain-ready and turn a nightmare to authentic travel experiences.

» Read more on A Traveler’s Guide to Weather and Climate in Vietnam

# Myth 5: Driving in Vietnam is a piece of cake 

Vietnam travel myths

Another common Vietnam travel myth is that you can rent a car and drive freely in Vietnam with an international driver’s license. Alternatively, a motorbike trek is also cool. Vietnam is not a big country, so traveling across cities is not a big problem. It will be fun!

Reality: Traffic in Vietnam may drive you crazy with frustrating rules that are sometimes ignored by the locals. You can rent a motorbike but riding a motorbike in Vietnam really needs a helmet and courage as well. Unfortunately, even if you have an international driving permit, you are not allowed to drive yourself in Vietnam. The only chance is to rent a private car and a driver. If you look for something easy and exciting, biking is not a bad idea.

# Myth 6: Halong Bay is the only UNESCO site in Vietnam 

Tourists go crazy for the grandeur of Halong Bay, a popular tourist attraction recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Halong Bay is a magnificent gift that Mother Nature granted Vietnam. That is all of the world recognition that such a small country like Vietnam could have.

Reality: There are some more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Vietnam. Despite its size, Vietnam’s natural wonders and cultural aspects praise the country. Check out the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi, Citadel of the Ho Dynasty, Complex of Hue Monuments, Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Sanctuary, Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and Trang An Landscape Complex!

# Myth 7: Vietnamese cuisine is all about ‘Pho’ 

Pho is a signature dish in Vietnam. Pho stalls are everywhere on the streets. Pho is a household name to any foodies no matter it is for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is nothing short of perfection, and nothing can compare to it. When it comes to Vietnam’s most favored dishes, it must be Pho.

Reality: It is absolutely true that Pho reflects the essence of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. However, the Vietnamese food story is not all about Pho. It is worth every penny to take any food walking tour as you will discover the whole world of fantastic dishes. Foodies just can’t ‘resist’ the flavors of Banh mi, Bun cha, Banh xeo, Com tam, and more. Find out Foodie Bucket List: Must-Try Dishes in Vietnam.

# Myth 8: There is no metro in Vietnam

Vietnam travel myths

There is no way to get around Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh by public transport unless you use buses. Buses have no air conditioners, and they are always crowded with people. Getting to know Vietnamese daily life by that way is not a smart choice for tourists.

Reality: That’s an old story to tell your friends. Getting around the cities in Vietnam on a budget will be much easier as the Hanoi metro and Ho Chi Minh City metro are scheduled to officially operate in 2021. You won’t be stuck in the chaos of motorbikes and noises. A new exciting transport option is ready to serve you soon.

# Myth 9: You can’t interact with the locals if you don’t speak Vietnamese  

The Vietnamese are shy, and they do not use English well enough to understand what you want to say. Some even say that the Vietnamese hate foreign tourists. They won’t show you the way if you get lost, or they will charge you double so that you will never get back to their country. Try not to stress! These Vietnam travel myths are absolutely wrong.

Reality: You will meet some of the friendliest people in the world here. Wandering around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi or Nguyen Hue Street in Ho Chi Minh City, you will be surprised as some may approach you just to say “Hello!” You can always join in their daily life with fun-filling activities like making rice paper or making conical hats. In case you don’t speak Vietnamese and they don’t speak English, the sign language will grease the wheels.

For those who seek authentic travel experiences, Vietnam should definitely rank high on your bucket list. If you are still worried about things that may upset your experiences, it is good to know that every country has its own strengths and weaknesses. You may need reasons to go than travel myths that stop you from doing so. Read 10 Things to make you fall in love with Vietnam over and over again.

© Maika Tours

Written by Trinh Tran

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